Fake news and vendettas
End of the week editorials
Friday morning - drawing conclusions from one example and mislabeled "fake news"
The Friday Intelligencer tells us in its lead editorial, "Deterring False ‘Hate Crime’ Claims," without a shred of evidence that:
Many of the “hate crimes” Americans are accused of never happened. Preventing real crimes based on bigotry and punishing those responsible when they occur is more difficult as a result of such “fake news.”
"Many?" Is the editorial going to cite the results of a study of hate crimes to support its thesis? No, of course not. Will we read at least three or four examples to suggest the conclusion is not based upon an isolated occurrence? No, just the opposite. What we will read about is one incident in which a Muslim student (are you surprised?) falsely accused someone of threatening her. From this, the editorial will conclude:
But, human nature being what it is, false reports of hate crimes that never happened make the public and police skeptical when they hear other such claims.
I wonder if our editorial writer is skeptical of all women who accuse others of rape because there have been instances when the charge was false. I doubt it -- this editorial isn't about false accusations, it's about encouraging further distrust of Muslims.
The editorial writer also claims that this story is an example of "fake news." No, the news report isn't "fake," the report accurately describes someone who made-up a story. That is not what is called "fake news." As the Guardian explained earlier this week:
Strictly speaking, fake news is completely made up and designed to deceive readers to maximise traffic and profit.
But the definition is often expanded to include websites that circulate distorted, decontextualised or dubious information through – for example – clickbaiting headlines that don’t reflect the facts of the story, or undeclared bias.
Interesting. Given that fake news includes "distorted . . . . or dubious information . . . . or undeclared bias," I would think that someone who works for the Intelligencer and thus comes in contact with fake news on a regular basis would certainly recognize that this story doesn't meet the criteria.
Thursday morning - the return of Obama's "vendetta" (The president must have forgotten that he had one.)
We haven't seen the word "vendetta" to explain Obama's motivation for a couple of months. However, the term was back in the headline for Thursday morning's editorial and like the half-dozen times it has previously been used in an editorial -- there is no explanation for why his action is a "vendetta."
The editorial contains a number of assertions like the following:
First, he ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to proceed with its controversial Stream Protection Rule. By one estimate, that would make mining so difficult it would make 85 percent of the nation's coal reserves unrecoverable.
85%? That's a lot of coal reserves. Of course there is no source given for the statistic. A lengthy Google search of the 85 percent figure yielded only a PR release from (surprise, surprise) Congressman David McKinley which also lacked documentation for the statistic. So what we have is a undocumented statistic from an uncredited McKinley PR release used as the basis for yet another anti-Obama headline and editorial. And of course we should consider ourselves lucky, for as the editorial's headline states: "Obama's Vendetta Can Be Reversed." (Although it probably requires an operation.)